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417 Latte Art Throwdown contest is tonight

Tonight at 7 p.m. at The Coffee Ethic on Park Central Square in Springfield, Missouri, I’ll be one of the judges for the 417 Latte Art Throwdown contest.  This event came together through conversations between the guys who run The Coffee Ethic, Dancing Mule Coffee, Hebrews Coffee and The Hub Bike and Beans, and I’m excited to be a part of it.  The Coffee Ethic has posted more about the event on their Facebook page.

The contest is open to anyone who has experience with espresso preparation and the equipment used to do so. In addition, to compete, you must have experience pouring milk-based beverages.

Sign-up begins at 7:00PM by way of an announcement. 7:30 p.m. will be the cut off time. If a person is not signed up by 7:30PM, then they will not be able to compete. At the sign-up, each competitor will give their name, and be assigned a number, and will pay their $5 to compete. Competitors may not bring their own espresso or milk — everything will be provided. Competitors can bring their own cup or mug of choice so long as it’s close to 12 ounces, or they can you use a mug provided.

Competitors will have 3 minutes behind the espresso machine to work their latte magic. They can pull as many shots of espresso in that time as they need. They will only be given one pitcher of milk and will only be allowed one opportunity to steam their milk. All latte art must be free pour — no etching will be allowed, and the only ingredients allowed will be milk and espresso.

Drinks will be judged in 4 categories:
1. Balance & Symmetry
2. Color Infusion & Definition
3. Use of Space
4. Overall Impression

Each of the 3 judges can award up to 6 points in each category, giving the possibility of a perfect score in a category being 18, and a perfect score in all categories being 72. In the case of a tied total score, the competitor with the highest Overall Impression score will be declared the winner.

That’s the general idea of the contest. I’m looking forward to some good competition. Hope to see you there!